Here at Ethics Alarms, the starting point for ethical analysis is the question, “What’s going on here?” It’s impossible to reach a fair and useful conclusion about where any conduct falls on the right/wrong scale unless one has a clear picture of what the conduct is--what happened and why. The still percolating saga of the hacked Democratic National Committee e-mails so far defies ethical analysis, because so many of the key facts are in doubt, so much of their impact is a matter of speculation, and virtually all of the participants, sources and advocates for one interpretation or another are untrustworthy.
I have never seen anything like it.
“What’s going on here?” I really have no definitive answer, but lets slog though the muck:
I. Some of what’s going on here is that Democrats, progressives and Clinton bitter-enders are making a concerted effort to use the fact that troubling DNC e-mails were released to the news media and the internet late in the Presidential campaign to prove the theory that Russian interference with the election was responsible for the victory of Donald Trump. This, they argue in turn, justifies regarding Trump as an “illegitimate President,’ thus justifying ignoring the election results, defying the election results, impeaching Trump immediately, blocking his swearing in, treating him in discourse and conduct as if he had just been convicted of beastiality rather than elected President, “doing something” to “stop him,” and obstructing anything he tries to do to govern.
Another way of putting it is that Democrats want to throw the nation into something perilously close to a Constitution crisis, a revolution, a civil war, and the unraveling of the nation itself because they couldn’t manage to win an election that should have been a breeze, and they refuse to accept accountability.
2. This, I can say without restraint, is unethical beyond question, and despicable as well.
3.The Russian hacks theory is the fourth wobbly leg of the Democratic Party’s “We refuse to accept the results of the election because Trump is unfit to be President as shown by the fact that he said he might not accept the results of the election” position. The other legs: 1) the Electoral College isn’t a legitimate way to choose a President, even though it would have been if it elected Hillary Clinton, and should be retroactively repealed, discarded or defied 2) Trump was elected by morons, racists, xenophobes, woman-haters and morons, while the virtuous, intelligent Americans voted for Hillary, and they know best, and 3) The head of the FBI, who saved Clinton’s candidacy by a very generous interpretation of her highly suspicious conduct after a strangely informal interrogation, thus causing Republicans to question his independence and integrity, intentionally sabotaged Clinton’s coronation by keeping his public promise to Congress that he would alert it if there were any new developments.
Since these are 1) ignorant 2) anti-democratic and 3) ridiculous, all adding up to pathetic and desperate, the weight of the whole effort now rests on Leg #4.
4. Much of the mainstream news media is bolstering that leg by short-handing the story in headlines and print as Russian “hacking of the election.” This characterization is a lie. The ongoing Ethics Alarms Fake News Project, which is dedicated to settling on what “fake news” is (another “What’s going on here?” inquiry) questions how this is any less fake news than “Pope Tells Followers To Support Trump.” Both are intentional lies, designed to confuse and mislead, with the mainstream media lie far more insidious, since only microcephalics are even a long-shot to buy the Pope story, whereas the Democratic Deranged, unhinged by confirmation bias and an inexplicable trust in journalism, are eager to accept the Russian lie. Fact: nobody, anywhere, has alleged that the Russians “hacked the election.” The only way an election gets hacked is when there is interference with the vote totals. “The claim that the ‘election was hacked’ is a bit of a misnomer,” writes former CBS reporter Sheryl Atkinson. “There’s no standing allegation by U.S. officials that the Russians (or anyone else) “hacked” into our elections system or altered vote counts.”
No, the term “bit of a misnomer” is a misnomer for “lie.” I would describe Atkinson as a hack by engaging in such equivocation to shield her colleagues, but that might confuse people.
5. No one, except Democratic officials like Donna Brazile when the slimy underside of the their party was revealed by the e-mails, has denied that they were genuine or that their contents were not accurate. This means that the anti-Trump case is that he is illegitimate because the voters knew more about his opponent’s dishonesty and corruption than they should have. This is roughly the equivalent of Richard Nixon arguing that his secret Oval Office tapes should not have been used to impeach him….but that’s really what the case amounts to.
6. The theory is that the Russians hacked the e-mails, and passed them to Wikileaks, which then wikileaked them. Inconveniently, Wikileaks founder and head trouble-maker Julian Assange uncategorically denies that the e-mails came from the Russians. He denied this previously, and did again in an interview with Trump shill Sean Hannity, which will air tonight. Excerpts:
HANNITY: Can you say to the American people, unequivocally, that you did not get this information about the DNC, John Podesta’s emails, can you tell the American people 1,000 percent that you did not get it from Russia or anybody associated with Russia?
ASSANGE: Yes. We can say, we have said, repeatedly that over the last two months that our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party…
ASSANGE: Our publications had wide uptake by the American people, they’re all true. But that’s not the allegation that’s being presented by the Obama White House. So, why such a dramatic response? Well, the reason is obvious. They’re trying to delegitimize the Trump administration as it goes into the White House. They are trying to say that President-elect Trump is not a legitimate President…Our source is not a state party, so the answer for our interactions is no. But if we look at our most recent statement from the US government, which is on the 29th of December, OK, we had five different branches of government, Treasury, DHS, FBI, White House presenting their accusations to underpin Obama’s throwing out 29 Russian diplomats. What was missing from all of those statements? The word WikiLeaks. It’s very strange.
7. Is Assange trustworthy? Of course not. He wants to undermine the United States as much as the Russians do. He could be lying, but why would he lie? Meanwhile, progressives who have previously hailed him as a hero for exposing the corruption in corporations and government suddenly don’t want to accord him credibility, because doing that would interfere with the dubious narrative they desperately want to believe. (It goes without saying that Sean Hannity is untrustworthy, but he just asked the questions.)
8. The FBI and DHS released a brief joint report last week about the matter, calling it “Russian Malicious Cyber Activity.” It doesn’t include forensic proof of Russian government involvement in hacking efforts, though that is theoretically on the way. Why has the Administration stated that the Russians were responsible for the hacks before any evidence could be made public? Well, I hate to be a suspicious sort, but it sure seems like Obama is happy and eager to reinforce that shaky fourth leg as much as possible before the swearing in….all the better to make sure that Trump’s entertainment on January 20 consists of a ventriloquist act, Marie and Her Dancing Weasels, and Milli Vanilli.
9. The evidence-free joint report states that the U.S. believes…
- Two hacking groups tied to the Russian government are involved.
- The GRU, Russia’s military service, is behind one of the groups, and the FSB, Russia’s counterintelligence agency headquartered in the building of the former KGB, is behind the other.
- The two groups accessed “a political party” by sending emails that tricked users into clicking links that planted malware or directed them to Russian servers….phishing, in other words.
- The groups provided the stolen emails to WikiLeaks, which WikiLeaks denies.
10. Is the FBI trustworthy? Well, I guess it depends on who wants to believe the agency, and when. The same Democrats who don’t trust the FBI’s motives for “sabotaging Clinton” choose to find the agency beyond reproach now….even without seeing the evidence.
11. Mark Maunder, the founder and CEO of WordFence (a plug-in designed to protect WordPress blogs like mine from hacking),wrote in a blog post last week arguing that there was reason to doubt the conclusion that the Russians hacked the DNC. Code identified by the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation as being used by Russian intelligence services, Maunder pointed out, is an outdated malware developed by Ukrainians that can be downloaded online. The report by the DHS and FBI included a PHP malware sample which WordFence employees analyzed. They were able to find the name of the malware and the version. Maunder said the malware is called “P.A.S. 3.1.0.,” which was previously available for download on a site that is currently down.
“Our security analysts spend a lot of time analyzing PHP malware, because WordPress is powered by PHP. We used the PHP malware indicator of compromise (IOC) that DHS provided to analyze the attack data that we aggregate to try to find the full malware sample…The PHP malware sample they have provided appears to be P.A.S. version 3.1.0 which is commonly available and the website that claims to have authored it says they are Ukrainian. It is also several versions behind the most current version of P.A.S which is 4.1.1b. One might reasonably expect Russian intelligence operatives to develop their own tools or at least use current malicious tools from outside sources.”
Yesterday, Maunder continued to question the DHS/FBI report. He said TechFence reviewed IP addresses that the DHS said was behind hacking efforts and found that they “belong to over 380 organizations and many of those organizations are well known website hosting providers from where many attacks originate. There is nothing in the IP data that points to Russia specifically.”
Is Maunder trustworthy? Why would he lie? Is he just wrong? I have no idea. Who do we choose to believe, and why?
12. So far, only two news sources that I can find have mentioned Maunder’s attack on the FBI’s conclusions; conservative website The Daily Caller, and Bloomberg. Why do you think this is? To be precise, why hasn’t a single mainstream media source found these doubts worth raising? It couldn’t be because they want as many shadows cast on Donald Trump’s Presidency for as long as possible, could it? The Ethics Alarms Fake News Project wants to determine, among other things, why withholding the timely publication of newsworthy information isn’t the equivalent of “fake news.” Not reporting something important that did happen vs. reporting something that didn’t: what’s the difference, in practical terms?
13. The Russian hack theory began with the CIA. The CIA, I presume everyone knows, lies as a matter of course. It is, also presumably, trying to undermine the Russian government. It is, based on what we know, quite probably involves in various operation against Russia at least as intrusive as what it is accusing Russia of doing during the election.
Is there any way to know when the CIA is telling us the truth, half-truths, or outright lies? Why are the same people and journalists who excoriated the CIA’s findings regarding Iraq’s WMD’s so convinced of its infallibility now? That question, at least, can be answered with some certainty: They want Russia to be the culprit, so they can, as Assange says, claim that Trump was elected by foreign interference, even though that would mean that tens of thousands of Trump voters were planning to vote for Clinton but changed their minds based solely on the WikiLeaks emails, or that tens of thousands of potential Clinton voters decided not to vote because of the revelations, and the combined effect was only decisive in a few key states. There is zero evidence of this, but never mind: to the Angry Left, the fact that Trump was elected is proof enough.
14. Obama’s “retaliation” against Russia for the hacks is, to put it mildly, strange. It is insubstantial, and could be read as an attempt to bolster the Russia hacking theory to undermine Trump. It is odd that he would take any action without revealing conclusive evidence. And why is this the “attack” that finally roused Obama from his torpor?
There have been many more serious cyber-attacks against the U.S. government, but no announced U.S. retaliatory measures. In 2015, Russian hackers attacked the State Department email system in what was called the “worst ever” cyber-attack against a federal agency. The same year, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management reported 5.6 million Americans’ fingerprints were stolen. GAO reported that between 2006 and 2015, the number of cyber-attacks climbed 1,300 percent, from 5,500 to over 77,000 a year at 24 federal agencies. Last March, China government hackers continued pattern of cyber attacks on U.S. government and private networks.
Ah, but revealing that the DNC chair helped Hillat Clinton cheat in a debate—now that’s outageous!
15. How much should Obama be trusted in this episode? Is he using the episode to try to cover the fact that his administration has been unconscionably lax and ineffective in the crucial area of cyber-security? Indeed, we are in this–whatever it is–solely because his Secretary of State, with his passive approval, blatantly ignored government policy and placed US security at risk.
What’s going on here?
85 thoughts on “The “Russian DNC Hacks”: Who Do You Believe, And Why Should You Trust Them?”
Oy. Excellent analysis. Frankly, I don’t know how we can ever know “What’s going on here?” given the widespread mendacity of all parties, some expected and some unknown before.
However, I am inclined to “trust” the analysis by WordFence. If they are lying, how can WordPress and other clients ever trust them again? It’s business, and therefore trustworthy because money is involved.
That said, I had to laugh when you transformed the CEO’s name into Maulder, which is one letter away from Mulder, and, well, you know…
The truth is out there. Maybe.
Oops. Or maybe I’ll leave it that way?
There’s a story with which Lefty seems to have little interest that might go a lot further toward explaining some of this.
Wouldn’t it behoove the authorities to interview a suspected mole in Clinton Slush Fund, former CEO Eric Braverman?
Unfortunately, the talented Mr. Braverman has vanished without a trace, missing since October.
FBI custody or “sleeping with the fishes?”
If the Clintons killed people, would Comey be still breathing?
Think that subject hasn’t come up?
“Can’t we just drone this guy (Assange)?” Clinton asked, according to unidentified state department sources.
But he’d be a tough out, harder to whack than Don Corleone.
Perhaps get Fredo to be his bodyguard…?
Seriously. Speaking of unfounded allegations… WTF still about the Clintons having people killed? I guess it’s possible, but so is it possible that any and all presidents have had people killed, because… CIA. Can we please stop such inflammatory allegations? On both sides? It is truly tiresome and insulting to this very excellent blog.
Occam’s Razor, Patrice. Too many bodies (including Vince Foster, who we recently found out committed suicide by shooting himself in the back of the head) of those who knew too much surround the Clintons. If they are not responsible, then someone has been looking out for them the past 40 years.
As far as I can find, there is no irrefutable evidence about his tragic death being anything other than a suicide.
Foster’s own family has asked that people stop circulating conspiracy theories about his death. This is disgusting.
Whether or not the murder theory is valid, I don’t think the family’s opinion of what happened actually carries more weight.
Are they privy to evidence or witnesses that we are not?
Wait, I dozed off for a second and suddenly we were arguing about Vince Foster. How did that happen?
I always like to point out logically weak arguments even if i agree with the conclusion of the arguer.
My guess is that they are more intimately familiar with the evidence and witnesses than people who just read about them on the Internet.
This is nonsense. If all the evidence is available on the internet (and I suspect it is), then there’s nothing *nefessitating* the assumption that a family member is more “intimately” familiar with it than anyone else who can read. Unless you are saying *emotional* connections matter. Which is precisely why appealing to a family member version of appeal to authority is flawed.
The Internet is a big place, tex. Are you really saying that the sites that deal in Vince Foster conspiracy theorism are reliable? That they are presenting the evidence in an accurate and non-misleading way?
Hell, slickwilly seems to think that Vince Foster was shot in the back of the head, which isn’t true. Where do you think he got that idea? The Internet.
Chris, where did you get your information that Foster was NOT murdered? The same sources that have been outed as misleading, biased, and in bed with the Clintons? The dying mainstream liberal media? Reports from alphabet agencies (with glaring inconsistencies and blatant lies) the leaders of which worked for the Clintons?
I submit that your sources are no more reliable than mine. There is serious smoke around mysterious deaths that benefit the Clintons, that defy the law of averages.
Slick Willy, do you still believe that Vince Foster was shot in the back of the head, contra the autopsy report that he shot himself in the mouth?
How about you put forward your sources for your claim that the Clintons had Vince Foster killed and we can all evaluate their credibility for ourselves?
This is a diversion. The point is, as far as I know, EVERYONE has just as much access to the evidence the FAMILY members had. Appealing to *their authority* specifically as though it hold special weight (after I’ve demonstration that they don’t have anything special that others don’t either) means you think they have something *more than the evidence*, in which case, your term “intimate” was revealing.
Appealing to family as though family is a greater expert on evidence is an appeal to emotion. It’s inherently flawed.
It’s like saying a victim of gun violence is more of an expert on guns than say, Carlos Hathcock, simply because they are *intimately* connected to guns.
This argument defies common sense, tex. The family is not *necessarily* more familiar with the evidence than an Internet rando, but they very *likely* are. And I can say with absolute certainty that they are more familiar with the evidence than Slick Willy, who falsely claimed that Foster was shot in the back of the head, and who still has not retracted this false claim after being given multiple opportunities.
And the right argument is to direct him to the evidence. Not make an appeal to an emotionally compromised “authority”.
Just honing your logic for you.
And no, my argument doesn’t go against common sense.
You are the one who has made an appeal to authority… specifically an appeal to a very flawed authority- that is, an “authority” who is emotionally attached.
It’s really simple.
It really is.
Uh-huh. Thanks for the favor, but I still stand by my initial position that continuing to circulate discredited conspiracy theories about a dead man after his family has asked you to stop is incredibly gross.
(And no, I’m not going to “direct him to the evidence” that this is a discredited conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theorists don’t care. Which is why I initially used shame and disgust rather than logic.)
“Uh-huh. Thanks for the favor, but I still stand by my initial position that continuing to circulate discredited conspiracy theories about a dead man after his family has asked you to stop is incredibly gross.”
Yeah ok, I haven’t argued against your conclusion. I’ve merely pointed out your flawed argument. Correct conclusions can still be argued incorrectly. Just fixing your argument. Don’t divert back to your conclusion.
“(And no, I’m not going to “direct him to the evidence” that this is a discredited conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theorists don’t care.”
That’s your prerogative. But of course, you only undermine yourself by short-cutting to your conclusion via logical fallacy. But, suit yourself, logic hasn’t been your strong suit here.
I employed no fallacy, Spock.
My first comment:
Foster’s own family has asked that people stop circulating conspiracy theories about his death. This is disgusting.
There’s no logical fallacy here because it’s not even an attempt at a logical argument, it’s an expression of emotion–disgust.
You then asked if the family has evidence that others do not. Well, they DO have evidence that Slick Willy does not–namely, that Foster was not shot in the back as SW erroneously claimed.
The family DOES have more evidence than SW in this case. And he proves my point that randos on the Internet who feel they are just as informed as the family are often wrong. (I feel no obligation to prove that Foster wasn’t shot in the back of the head–you and I both know that’s true, and SW can easily find out for himself.)
Finally, your harping on the finer points of my logic–while saying almost nothing in response to SW’s paranoid conspiracy-mongering, which is at its heart much more illogical than anything I’ve said–is super weird, and perhaps indicative of your anti-Clinton biases.
This is nonsense. Vince Foster was not shot in the back of the head. He put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. The autopsy report was unequivocal about this. Other than this one gunshot wound, there were no wounds or injuries to any part of his body. Kenneth Starr prepared an extensive report, which is readily available online, as is the autopsy report.
You miss my point, I suspect on purpose.
Why should I satisfy your request for sources when you refused to defend the ones you are using? I asked you where you got your information. I also asserted that perhaps the party line is not reliable, given what we know about the MSM and the Clintons today.
You are in no position to judge source reliability until you have established a valid source. I don’t think you can, given how the Clintons operate.
Why should I satisfy your request for sources when you refused to defend the ones you are using?
This cannot be a serious question. You are accusing people of murder. I am saying that those people are not murderers. You honestly think the initial burden of evidence is on me? Are you brand new to the Internet?
The point I am making has nothing to do with the question you are asking. You are asserting that some sources are more reliable than others, and it just ain’t so, not when the Clintons are involved. All of your knowledge of this tragedy, most likely, is from mainstream media and agencies that reported to the Clintons, or were pressured by those agencies.
There are no totally reliable sources, in other words. Corruption of the media and government have been revealed, and go back years
Why should I believe anything?
Well, you believe that Foster was shot in the back of the head, which isn’t true. How did you come to that belief? Obviously you employ some method of determining what is true and what is false. What is that method?
Met a guy, some years ago, who was, shall we say, tangential to the investigation and knew many of the local public servants. It was noticed that the bullet wound exiting the back of the head did not have the signature of a live suicide using that method (missing brain matter, little blood, and so on) but that there was a small hole behind his ear that could not be accounted for by the ‘primary’ wound. The hole was about a pencil width, and typical of a .22 caliber contact wound. The presumably later damage from the larger caliber removed any further evidence (and much of the brain matter was missing entirely at the scene) but that hole.
The initial assumption was that a) the body was moved, and b) that the lack of blood exiting the primary wound (in the back of the head) indicated the heart was not pumping blood when the trauma occurred. The initial working theory was thus homicide, with an attempt to mask the crime.
Same guy watched the cover up and threats the locals got from Federal agents to not talk about what they had seen.
Do you have any evidence for these claims other than your word that you “met a guy” who told you some stuff?
I trust my source far more than you should be trusting any of yours. That is the point: your sources have been proven ‘in the tank’ for the Clintons. But you will not hear what I am saying.
A man has character, and you grow to know if he is dishonest. A news organization with a vested interest to lie? Not so much.
I am done with this thread, mock and say what you want from here. I should not have gone this far.
You could have just said “No.”
With the outgoing President’s words and actions towards both Russia and Israel being so inflammatory lately, is it too tinfoil-hatty of me to suspect that Obama is trying to set up a few powder kegs that won’t blow up until Trump is President?
It’s crazy, right? If I were to leave a company and wanted everyone to know just how good a job I did (you might call this my desire to leave a legacy), and had no morals, I’d leave a few surprises that wouldn’t be apparent until a few weeks/months after I left. Nothing makes you look better than a successor who messes everything up in short order.
Am I too deep in conspiracy theory here? It seems so… improbable that this is really his MO.
Right on the money.Without a shadow of a doubt.
Jack asked, “What’s going on here?”
Are we asking the right questions?
When something is too good to be true, it usually is; that’s exactly what this Russian hacking story is to the Democrats, too good to be true.
Personally I smell a sinister rat; what I’m hearing from government information releases and the corresponding media seems to be carefully measured and carefully delivered propaganda; is it ginning up faux outrage to create a Constitution crisis, maybe. What I think it is is the equivalent of a huge smoke screen concealing the end goal, the real question everyone should be asking is what is the end goal?
Something is going on.
What crisis? Trump will be become president at noon on January 20’th, then he will be sworn in a couple minutes later. Since he’s the fittest man to ever become president he won’t drop of a heart attack before then. What else do you want?
As a political innocent my opinion cannot count for much (fortunately for all of you).
But first I wanted to acknowledge Jack’s excellent analysis. Good Heavens, that is how I wish to be able to analyze things and describe them. Do you break things down on paper and then organize an outline? It has to be because of your legal background that your training goes into this effort.
The question I have is: What is really going on in the ‘Halls of Power’? I have the sense that someone, some group, some constellation of interests, desires to provoke a confrontation with Russia, and so they are working in that direction. But that is perhaps not the most important thing, but a side-show.
Why is it that Trump is being cast over into that camp, as ‘pro-Russia’ and supporting of Putin? Is this because they desire to see Trump as a similar figure to Putin? An autocrat’? A ‘fascist’? I almost cannot believe the partisan line that the NYTs has taken. It is the anti-Trump journal of distorted opinion it seems to me. It is unreal.
What large interests are at stake here? What does Trump represent to whichever class or power-group that most opposes him? As far as ‘the Halls of Power’ go, what is happening behind the scenes? Surely these things cannot be hidden, surely someone has to know, surely there has to be talk in Washington.
If one accepts the idea of power-blocks that function behind the facade of democracy, then this points in a troubling direction: people and interests behind the scenes that control the scene. That leads to all sorts of paranoid ideas …
But whatever is happening, is indeed happening at an ‘executive’ level, isn’t it? Don’t all these machinations revolve around that section of government?
Trump seems to be persuing classic republican and conservative — and very American — policy: business growth essentially. Even military extension and investment is very American. That is exactly what would be required to ‘Make America Great Again’. To repeat (if possible) the postwar boom. How else could it be made great except that?
Why the opposition? Who opposes?
Of all the ideas and suggestions I’ve heard about what all this obvious “red-baiting” is about, I’m siding with what looks like to me, to be the simplest answer. Barack Obama is doing everything in his power before leaving office, to make sure he messes things up so badly between Russia and the U.S. of A., that the new President will never be able to smooth it over again. There are powers in America that really want that war, and Trump is threatening to ruin their plans.
I am with you, dbp49. Ever since he introduced the health care reform legislation that he loved having his name attached to (until it proved itself a colossal failure), Obama has left me with the impression that he is a subversive, and nothing more: not just prone, but dedicated, in virtually every matter of governance, to choosing the path that is most detrimental (or least beneficial) to Americans’ best interests. “He killed bin Laden.” Yeah, and that cost our military some of its best secrets up to that time.
Well, hopefully your new Commander-in Chief will refuse to play the outgoing President’s final game.
My take, point by point (and worth every penny you paid for it!) 🙂
1. Liberal whining, but not because they have a plan, or anything, to destabilize the country (more than usual, anyway, my tinfoil side insists). I believe they are going off in all directions at once, having lost their minds after a sure bet backfired.
2. Agreed. Breaks the Golden Rule as well
3. Reminds me of playing to the audience, rather than a definite call to action in the near term. Since the other three legs did not pan out (and never had a chance) they are left with Russians Hacking (TM)
4. The media has proven definitively that they ARE the democratic party propaganda arm. Of course that will spin this as hard as they can. Their problem is that more common people realized this in the last election, and chose to discount the lies accordingly. It was responsible for a large portion of their loss in the election cycle (across the country), and they cannot accept the diminished main stream media role in politics this fact implies. So they are doubling down, hoping the common man goes back to sleep. Good
5. The whole concept that it is somehow unfair that the DNC’s true feelings and motives were revealed to the public boggles my mind. They are de facto admitting they have to hide who they are (and what they want) to get elected.
6. Don’t trust the Russians (child of the cold war that I am), don’t trust Wikileaks/Assange, and don’t trust the Obama Administration. So it comes down to, who profits from lying here? Not Assange so much as the other two.
7. covered in 6
8. Obama is a child emotionally, and will do anything to spite those who rejected his agenda. The FBI and DHS have to provide cover for the meme without doing anything actionable, thus to protect their jobs from a possibly hostile takeover later this month. Thus words without proof.
9. covered in 8
10. covered in 8
11. I tend to trust someone who has a financial stake in objective analysis versus political hacks and those who work for them. Not saying Maunder is trustworthy per se, as I never heard of the man before this post.
12. covered in 4, with a side helping of “why am I not surprised?”
13. The CIA also works for political hacks, and has less reason to tell the truth than other alphabet agencies, given their mission in life. As to the impact of the leaks: there is no evidence they caused marginal states to change to Trump while other states stayed the same. Magical thinking.
14. Obama is ‘acting’ because there is no longer a downside for him. He knows the Russians had nothing to do with this, and anything to make that relationship harder on Trump is icing on the cake.
15. Obama (and liberals in general) seem to allow ideals to cloud reality. They preferentially hire those who follow the party line, and do not hire those who do not, instead of looking for the best employee for the task at hand. This has resulted in the ‘second string’ running the harsh cyber world for .gov, with predictable results. Republicans can be this way as well, but they are help to account for failures far more than Democrats (and liberals in general) and so self police the practice. Can you imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth had a Republican governmental web site been so badly botched as Healthcare.gov? If fingerprints (fingerprints!) had been stolen under Bush’s watch?
The irony is thick on the ground when the Left is screaming about what is essentially poor security practice (bathroom server, for Pete’s sake?) while ignoring that they totally owned the entire shebang.
The RNC was NOT hacked (a little mentioned fact) and thus the ‘bias’ of the released emails was because of who was vulnerable, not due to who did the releasing.
Nice addition. Thanks.
I thank you immensely good sir for saying what I’ve been harping on for a while now…that the use of “election hacking” in headlines and articles is pure misdirection and manipulation to create a sense in the public mind that somehow it was the election and the vote totals that were hacked and not the DNC.
I think manipulation and misdirection is too nice.
It’s an outright Lie.
“It’s an outright Lie.”
Agree – it’s Cntonism at what I wish was its historical zenith. (Fat chance.)
“How much should Obama be trusted in this episode? Is he using the episode to try to cover the fact that his administration has been unconscionably lax and ineffective in the crucial area of cyber-security? Indeed, we are in this–whatever it is–solely because his Secretary of State, with his passive approval, blatantly ignored government policy and placed US security at risk.
What’s going on here?”
It’s the phenomenon that you identified in your excellent entry – and one of my all-time favorites – of 08/02/2014.
This segment says it all:
“All an objective observer can do is sigh, and sigh, and sigh, maybe scream, and then bang his or her head against a hard surface. This has happened again and again, and the results are plain to see. Incompetence and dishonesty to cover up the incompetence has become the culture of the government, and proof of it comes to the surface every day. At the root of it all is the message that has been communicated from the top of the chain of command from the very first days: there will be no accountability here. We will blame others for our failures and errors, once we can’t hide them any more. Loyalty counts more than performance. Those demanding accountability will be marginalized as obstructionists, racists, enemies.”
The Democrats lost an election. We had one day of nominal self-reflection by the party and the media before the finger pointing began. They didn’t lose because they’d put forward an outrageously dishonest candidate who’d failed to reach a big chunk of the country; they lost because of obstructionists, racists and enemies: James Comey, “deplorables”, clickbait and Russian hackers.
The cultural lack of accountability that has been demonstrated by President Obama since the first days in office continues even as a lame duck. The narrative has been spun, the Russians have “hacked the election” which means they have to be punished for it because we can’t have foreign governments trying to sway the American electorate when they can just donate money to the candidates’ charitable foundations instead…
They have to make this narrative stick because, otherwise, they will have to admit to the American people that Mr. Trump won the election fairly and by the same rules he and Mrs. Clinton agreed to abide by when they launched their campaigns. And that’s just too much for them to admit.
“…it sure seems like Obama is happy and eager to reinforce that shaky fourth leg as much as possible before the swearing in….all the better to make sure that Trump’s entertainment on January 20 consists of a ventriloquist act, Marie and Her Dancing Weasels, and Milli Vanilli.”
Stop, you’re killing me!
Oh, seriously. It’s not like the performers who have declined to participate are declining based on this alone. Nor is it seriously likely that there were performers who planned to participate but now given the “4th leg,” they’re saying “Oh, no, can’t do this.” Come on. Stick to substantive points, not this kind of crap.
Patrice, what’s your beef exactly? Jack injects some great humor into his diatribes (thought this post is not a diatribe). So, is your beef with me or Jack?
I think, when one references the dancing weasels and Milli Vanilli, the tongue in cheek nature of the comment is manifest.
Noetheless, the “harass artists out of performing for their country” operation is part of the de-legimatizing scenario. I used it as a stand-in for the whole thing—again, pretty clearly.
OK, fine, tongue-in-cheek. Sometimes the tone of comments becomes tiresome. I apologize.
Still, are there artists who have indicated that they have been harrassed? The only one I heard of was Andrea Boccelli.
“…virtually all of the participants, sources and advocates for one interpretation or another are untrustworthy.”
As with multiple jigsaw puzzles in the same box (what a great idea!), you just have to keep throwing stuff away until what’s left is plausible. A couple more data points:
1. Assange said in August that wikileaks had received material about Trump , but that it was no different from came out of Trump’s mouth on a daily basis. He specifically asked people to supply him with credible information about the Trump campaign.
2. Clinton said at her Plaza fundraiser party in December that Putin had a “personal beef” against her since her remarks about 2011 Russian parliamentary elections, and that was driving force behind Russian hacking operations. If her own words are true, it seems that the affair should be described as an affair to “hurt Clinton,” and the words “help Trump” could be labelled fake news. (There should also be some questions raised about whether a competent diplomat should so anger a foreign leader without anticipating consequences).
3. The timing of the DNC and Podesta releases seem to support the view that this was an attempt to get Clinton, rather than support another candidate. The DNC release potentially could have resulted in Sanders replacing Clinton as the candidate at the convention, with result that Trump would have no help against Sanders in November. The common factor in the two releases seems to be to strike at Clinton, rather than help either of the other candidates.
Somehow 15 points and you left out what is maybe the most likely scenario in all this.
The Russians, or at least some members sympathetic to them, actually performed hacking to try and ensure a pro-Russian candidate wins an election.
Not that I think it cost the Dems the election either way, As everyone should know that anything you put down in writing, or on the internet, could be exposed at some point. Don’t want it to be known, don’t say it or think it.
“The Russians, or at least some members sympathetic to them, actually performed hacking to try and ensure a pro-Russian candidate wins an election.”
To try to ensure a pro-Russian candidate???
More likely to try to undermine the expected candidate before she took office.
If they really wanted to *ensure* a particular candidate they’d have taken far more assertive actions. Your theory fails the suitability phase of course of action analysis. The plan “toss out some smear Intel” for the objective “ensure a Trump win” doesn’t line up.
This entire blog entry is pure speculation *grin*
I don’t think they could ensure a candidate, outside of bribing a few hundred million americans. It’s just that it doesn’t fit the “democrates are slimy scum” narrative that this post makes out (and yes, they can definitely be slimy scum in many instances). And i can’t think of a more likely way to try and push toward a Trump win then to toss out smear Intel (that happens to be true, since it’s hacked from their actual emails).
How do you get “the democrats are slimy scum” out of this post, SL? I described exacatly what the Democrats have done—if you think that makes them slimy, that’s your call. Hillary Clinton and the party excoriated Trump for saying he might not accept the election results. When he won, the party and its followers have tried recounts without justification, retroactively attacked the US election system, tried to make electors break their oaths, claimed that the FBI sabotaged them, and now the Russia conspiracy theory. Then the leaks of real e-mails showing the Democrats in cahoots with major press figures is repeatedly distorted as “the Russians hacked the ELECTION”, not the DNC, causing Progressive after progressive to write on social media that the election was fixed. Some Democrats argued that the Supreme Court should invalidate the election; another argued that there should be a re-vote. And, of course, the same Gore-Leiberman delegitimization that an Electoral College election isn’t a “real” election. What would you call that crap? I called it hypocritical, divisive, irresponsible, and dangerous. I don’t call it that because I “hate democrats,” but because this conduct is unprecedented, disgraceful and outrageous. If you think I wouldn’t frame the same conduct by Republicans and conservatives in exactly the same terms, you can bite me and stick your head in a woodchipper. I resent the accusation.
And the truth isn’t a smear, by definition.
Oh come on Jack, your posts the last 2 months have basically been calling them that over and over again. Don’t try to shift it to another viewpoint, that’s disingenuous at best. Now, granted, much of what they’ve done does gives credence to it. Many of the things they have done have been slimy, and scummy. But go back and re-read your posts and that is basically what they’ve been called.
BTW I’m a Republican, so I back them. But these conspiracy blog posts are beneath you. One of the reasons I started following your blog is I enjoyed the frank fairness and evenhanded approach to your posts. Yes, they were conservative oriented (and also probably why I followed), but they were at least fair. You TRIED to at least see both sides, and be even handed about it.
Now it’s just one Dem attack hatchet post after another, digging through liberal news to find a nugget of something they said wrong. (While overlooking Fox and conservative posters so they get a free pass) Try to stop acting like every thing the Dems do is awful, that every move they make is planned to destroy the country. It’s not. Many of them ARE doing dumb things of course, but this happens with both political parties. And no, you don’t do it evenly, look back and find a conservative bashing post, it’s probably 1 in 10 at best. Even when you were against Trump, it was maybe a paragraph and then 5-6 Clinton bashing posts. (We got it, she’s crooked, we all agree!) Where is the crap Fox news puts on their site (because it’s just as much crap as CNN or others), instead of post after post complaining about liberal media (as opposed to conservative).
You’re smart, you’re thorough, you have a great background, you do a wonderful job on this blog. It was one of my favorite reads. Which is why when you go back a year from now and read through these past months posts, you’re going to be kicking yourself at how your biasness against the Clintons and the Dems made you go overboard on assessments and hone in on them like a guided missle, making them sound more like something I would read off a conspiracy theory blog then an ethics one.
You can’t post this kind of accusation without examples. If the Democrats are disgracing themselves for week after week, the posts here will reflect that. During the campaign I posted an unethical Trump quote of the day for a while, and got similar complaints from Trump-enablers. Show me what you consider a “hatchet post” so I know what you are basing this one, and explain why it’s unfair.
There’s are some excellent reasons why the Democratic effort to undermine Trump is being laid out here: 1) the mainstream media isn’t doing it 2) As a student of American government and the Presidency, I find it deeply offensive and disturbing and 3) it’s incredibly dangerous.
By sheer chance, I address your (silly) point about Fox in my last post.
I must disagree with some of this, Steven. During the election Jack was remarkably even-handed, and his condemnations of Trump were certainly more than “a paragraph and then 5-6 Clinton bashing posts.”
Since the election I think he has been way too easy on Trump and conservatives and much harder on Democrats, but he’s explained why that is; he finds the current conduct of Democrats more reprehensible, and he wants to give our next president a chance to actually be sworn in before he joins the pile-on.
Thanks Chris. Saved me a reply. The truth is that I get up every morning hoping I can go the whole day without a political post. I’m sick of politics, especially after the last 18 months. I can’t duck it though, in part because of my passion for the Presidency and its history.
I view undermining the office, the process and the institutions existentially dangerous, and yes, I will put a higher priority on that than Trump’s latest stupid tweet, or the fact that he’s still listed as a producer on the Apprentice. I’m dreading January 21, because I know that, barring a miracle, Trump will have me posting every day on one ethical breach or the other.
Right now, I view the public hysteria, because that’s what it it, fanned by the news media, exploited by the Democrats, to be among the most alarming sequences in recent US history, and brushed aside at great risk. That’s not a product of bias, its a product of an informed perspective. And my posts on that reflect its importance, not animus against Democrats.
Moral luck has wreaked havoc with my assessments of the GOP. I believe, and wrote over and over again, that they had an obligation to stop Trump, at each stage of the campaign, right up to the voting. They didn’t, and they’re sitting on top of the world. I was still right, but that’s not a position worth arguing.
I believe in a two party system; I do not think the Democrats becoming identified with trying to reverse elections is healthy for it. I find the conduct of the party and absence of responsible leadership scary, because we could be left with one party of patriotic, democacy-trusting conservatives and moderates, and a weak and violent left wing fringe associated with unifying minorities and interests groups trying to overthrow an elected government.
Criticism is not opposition. Misunderstanding this is how the news media made Obama a lesser leader. He would have benefited from tougher, unbiased criticism, just as kids benefit from being told when they are wrong. He’s a narcissist, but he’s not stupid. He could have been much better, but the news media and his cocoon told him that he was doing great, and he could discount Fox News, so he accepted the uncritical verdict.
Steve, I thought Obama’s smug statement that he could have won a third term was the most obnoxious, offensive and revealing thing I have heard from any President, an insult to both candidates, his party, and complete abdication of accountability, saying, “Hey, I’m popular! That’s all that matters.” I wanted like hell to write about that, but didn’t. We know Obama’s like that. The other stuff is more important, because the news media is not doing its job.
Steve, You really owe me an apology. I take criticism to heart, and do bias checks regularly. I just checked all my posts from today to December 20—that’s more than two weeks. Two, count em, two posts out of 40 that included substantial criticism of Democrats. A equal number criticizing Trump and the Republicans. Two other posts designating Democratic US Presidents as Ethics Heroes…including Obama. There were more, many more, posts about Carrie Fisher and Star Wars. That’s not the kind of imbalance you’re accusing me of.
It’s unfair, but more important, it’s wrong.
On the 20th, the Electoral College voted, and yes, I wrote a lot about that in the run-up to it, and the concerted efforts by Democrats to overturn the election, because it was a big deal, and I happen to know a lot about the process.
I will apologize. I think that my wording of it was far too strong. This IS a conservative blog, not a radical type “Breitbart blog”, and not even a Fox News blog. But it leans conservative, which is partly why I started reading it. I expect that, but I enjoy when it’s fair and even in it.
I happen to have a Democrat wife, and live in a Democrat area. I had her reading it and she enjoyed the blog (never posted), until it delved into the elections. At which point she would hound me about all the anti-Clinton/Obama comments that appeared in nearly every post. Not in the posts specifically focused on them, but in the comments within posts that would denigrate them. Most posts eventually come to some kind of remark about them, even if they were not the central focus of it.. (Of course, I also would point out that they did those actions, so they deserved many of them). Fortunately she is not a rabid Democrat, and while not wanting Trump as President, is sitting back to see how things go.
I read your blog as my lunch break, so obviously I enjoy your intellect, intelligence and points, as I don’t really get the time to read many. Which is why I didn’t have the time to go through posts. It was just the general feel I was getting. Signing on and thinking “another Clinton/Obama or Liberal media bash”. Granted I DO think there was some before the elections, and the Republicans are naturally staying quiet now. Why stir the pot when you already won? Maybe that’s the moral luck as well (or unlucky for Democrat and acting foolishly?) Of course, that’s the problem with feelings towards it, you get a confirmation bias towards it.
I want to say I really enjoy the blog. I thank you for taking the time for all you do with it. It’s certainly one of the better blogs out there, both in how it’s presented, and the subject matter you bring up.
Thanks, Steven. I appreciate the fairness and candor, and your participation is a great asset here.
Why is that the most likely scenario, especially if Assange says it didn’t happen, and the tech guys says the malware wouldn’t be used by Russia?
And the most likely scenario if it was the Russians, was that they wanted to weaken and undermine the next President. I doubt their polling was any better than ours.
Why? Because it’s one the Intel reports have said has happened to this point. If it comes up as something else, I’ll believe otherwise. They have a lot more resources at their disposal to investigate this then you or I. And Assange says it didn’t happen, which is about as believable as saying Clinton said she knew nothing about the emails at all. Besides, all he truly stated is he didn’t get it directly from Russian government officials, which means nothing. And so far it’s a very short amount of tech guys, with unknown motives, saying it might not be. I know you hate the Democrats (many of them with good reason), but this, and a few posts the last month, sound like listening conspiracy theorists trying to dig up tiny amounts of data to fit their bias. The Democrats do enough scummy things on their own to try and come up with things like that. Unless you believe the Intel in the US is completely corrupt or incompetent. In which case nothing will ever be believable and might as well just get rid of the entire group of them.
If all they wanted to do was weaken the next president, there would have been both Republican and Democrat hacks, as it wouldn’t matter who won. In that case no matter what the election results the president would be weakened. In this case, it was clearly one-sided, which is done to push for a certain candidate to win.
1. The evidence suggests that they tried to hack the GOP and couldn’t. If the one-sided theory is your linchpin, you’re turned around. Not everyone is as careless and stupid as Podesta.
2. By the time of the second set of hacks, everyone assumed Hillary was winning in a landslide. There is no way to be certain what the intent was, IF it was Russia
3. And the CIA is believable? Clapper lied to Congress. All the CIA does is lie. Of all then agencies, that’s the least trustworthy one.
4. The Intel reports have been credibly questioned, and no actual evidence has been presented to support their conclusions. So what are you so sure?.
5. Watch it: I don’t hate Democrats. I flag conduct, not parties. In the case of the post election period, the Democrats have soiled themselves, the worst, most hypocritical, unAmerican and intentionally divisive and uncivil conduct I have seen by any party in my lifetime.
6. Other than the fact that you have bad info, weak logic and unwarranted conclusions, good comment.
Anyone who is certain what is going on in this mess wants to believe what they believe, because the evidence is ambiguous, and all the participants are conflicted or liars, are both–that’s Trump, the CIA, the news media, Obama, Russia, the DNC and Assange.
I just don’t think we have all the facts in this case, which is why I can either believe in our Intel community, or people who have basis to be untruthful or are coming to conclusions without all the facts.
I tend to want to believe our Intel, because if we don’t why bother having it. Honestly if we’re not going to believe their reports, then Trump is in all rights to just not bother having security briefings, since none of them are believable then.
Any other comments done by outside parties are done with incomplete information. Do we think the FBI/CIA/whatever are going to reveal how and where they get their sources information, and risk giving away their abilities and methods of how they conduct research.
Do I feel strongly about the Russians doing the hacking, No. I don’t have enough proof of that in my own right, so I have to go in what I can believe in the most. Do I believe the Dems, no way in hell! I at this point believe that our Intel community is non-biased enough that they’ll pull a report on what they have concluded. The Dems will run away on some excuse on how it hurt them (when we know it was their campaign that did it), but any logic come to from anything else is based on incomplete information. MAybe it ALL is, but how can anyone (you, me, Dems, Republicans) have any say on it at all then.
Christ, Steve, the post was about how we don’t have all the facts, and lacking facts, the spin being put on it is deceptive. All three of the heads of the major intelligence operations have either lied or tried to deceive Congress over the past several years. “I choose to believe them because they are more reliable than anyone else” is not rational.
There is no way to conclude that the Russian affected the election. That is pure “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy.
There is no way to presume that this was the objective of the leaks.
Absent evidence and the increasing doubts in the tech community, there is also no reason to accept the CIA, which has the mission of undermining Russia,when they make an assertion damaging to Russia.
Jack, if President Trump should not listen to the intelligence community when making decisions, whom should he listen to?
“Jack, if President Trump should not listen to the intelligence community when making decisions, whom should he listen to?
This is a false trope, brought to you once again by the dying American liberal media.
Jack covered this. Trump basically said that if there was no new intelligence from the previous briefing, there was no need to repeat old information, because he is a smart guy who can remember from one day to the next. This was breathlessly turned into “Trump too smart for Intel briefings!”
Chris, I misread your post. that was not the question you posed, and I apologize.
Thanks, I appreciate that.
Is that relevant to this? Obviously, he has to trust the intelligence. President Trump hasn’t had that experience. So far, all President-Elect Trump is the CIA giving the people who want to argue he isn’t really President a peg to hang their hat on, without revealing the evidence. I’m be annoyed ta that, if I were him.
Sorry, I thought you suggested that Trump shouldn’t trust the CIA not only on this matter, but on future matters, since “all the CIA does is lie.” What do you mean “he has to trust the intelligence?” No, he doesn’t. He isn’t doing that now. Other presidents have cast aside or manipulated intelligence in the past; that’s how we got into the Iraq War. Are you saying that Trump should distrust them now, but trust them once he becomes president/?
I’m asserting that if he doesn’t feel he can trust his own agency, he needs to alter its operation and personnel so he does. Bush trusted his CIA on WMDs. “Slam dunk” was the term, I believe. Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em. There’s a reason, after all, that one of the JFK conspiracy theories is that the CIA had him killed. They Do lie for a living.
Today we learned that the FBI never actually examined the supposedly hacked DNC server, but had a private contractor do it. So we’re not really trusting the FBI on this, either, but consultants we never heard of.
You know, like those crack consultants who built healthcare.gov. Skepticism regarding federal agencies, especially under this administration, is warranted.
I’m asserting that if he doesn’t feel he can trust his own agency, he needs to alter its operation and personnel so he does.
Well there’s a comforting thought. We know from experience that Trump hires people who tell him what he wants to hear.
Bush trusted his CIA on WMDs. “Slam dunk” was the term, I believe.
You’re right, the CIA did say the notion that Iraq had WMDs was a “slam dunk.” I was thinking of the CIA’s disagreement with the administration on Iraq’s ties with Al Qaeda; Cheney’s conclusions on that issue went far beyond the CIA’s intelligence.
Well that’s a fault that isn’t unique to Trump among Presidents, if true, but I’m not sure it is. One thing about generals, iconoclasts and and CEOs…they are not submissive or Betas.
The odd part in all of this is that there is no evidence that vote counts were manipulated by some kind of malware. Also, there is no allegation that the hacked and released information was false (other than Donna Brazile’s comments which she later recanted when she applauded herself for being a good DMC trooper because these are different times). There is no evidence that Rush (my favorite band) . . . sorry – Russian hacked manipulated the electronic voting machines to alter election results.
Or is there? (cue – menacing music, “Duh, duh . . . duuuuuuuuh!!!”)
Over the weekend Vermont government officials claimed one their laptops was infected with malware code used in Grizzly Steppe, the name Homeland Security has applied to a Russian campaign linked to recent hacks. (Oddly, this computer was not connected to the power grid and Vermont government officials took great steps to isolate it, which sounds like they unplugged it and turned it off but what do I know?)
Is this story part of the plan to support Pres. Obama’s actions kicking out a bunch of Russian diplomats? Or is to support the story that the KGB/Kremlin really did undermine the integrity of the US elections. It would seem to me that some evidence of voter fraud had been uncovered in the voting machines used in several states. Only time will tell.
Well known, has been for ages, verifiable through open sources in the technical literature. Not controversial. There are other Russian govt entities too.
While that might be true, it’s something they and every other such group does routinely, the evidence we have in open sources points to a different entity being responsible for that. Unproven and not particularly likely.
Your fine analysis explains my new-found fondness for your Blog, but I was a caught a little off-guard today at hearing you pose the exact same question as another gentleman I know, who I often receive a lot of flack from my acquaintances for listening to.
“There have been many more serious cyber-attacks against the U.S. government, but no announced U.S. retaliatory measures. In 2015, Russian hackers attacked the State Department email system in what was called the “worst ever” cyber-attack against a federal agency. The same year, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management reported 5.6 million Americans’ fingerprints were stolen. GAO reported that between 2006 and 2015, the number of cyber-attacks climbed 1,300 percent, from 5,500 to over 77,000 a year at 24 federal agencies. Last March, China government hackers continued pattern of cyber attacks on U.S. government and private networks.”
This is the crux of your post, don’t you think? None of these got 10% of the media attention that Obama and his press have devoted to the DNC hacking. And who else is asking why?
At this point, and I think this IS the point, there is no source that is reliable, trustworthy, etc. I AM, however, inclined to trust the family. Why wouldn’t you?
That was supposed to be a reply to slickwilly somewhere up there.
I’m believing the people who have the least incentive to lie.
Yes, I know the CIA are liars. Have they ever lied about something like this, to the public? The CIA does not typically get involved with politics at this level. They have never released information that would cast doubt on the legitimacy of an incoming president .
So either they’re lying, and they don’t actually have the intel they’re claiming they have, in which case they will likely be found out. Or they’re telling the truth. The risk/reward calculations here would seem to indicate they aren’t lying; if they are, they will almost certainly get caught, thus ruining the CIA’s reputation and embarrassing a whole hell of a lot of people. It could also ruin Obama’s legacy. It just doesn’t seem worth it.
On the other hand, Trump, Russia, and WikiLeaks all have far more of a reason to lie about this.